Just like moths to a flame, the idea of having setting up and writing a blog attracts many businesses every year, only to get burned as the reality of what is involved to maintain it becomes clear. Blogs take a lot (and I mean a lot) of time and effort to be done well and achieve your goals, but few businesses seem aware this is necessary or are unwilling to do this
A business blog can drive sales and hugely enhance a brand but it can just as easily portray your company as boring and unprofessional. The choice is yours.
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The key to a successful business blog strategy is to have one
Personally, I have set up and defined the strategies for two different business blogs, as well as providing a large proportion of the content, and in both instances I have applied the same strategy.
I believe that in order to be successful a business blog has to be useful, interesting, relevant, regularly updated and encourage interaction with the readers. This takes planning and resources (people, time and money), so without these I would recommend blogging isn’t for you.
I previously looked at tools and resources out there to teach yourself how to start and write a business blog, and here I am going in to more detail about the importance of planning, resourcing and perseverance.
It doesn’t matter what industry your business operates in, the only way you will get people to read your blog and come back for more is if you provide something they want. This could be guides, tips, something funny… it depends on your target audience, but the general strategy is the same regardless. Be useful, be relevant, be interesting, be up to date.
Update, update, update…
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for business blogs is updating the content frequently. If you can’t commit to this I wouldn’t have one. A blog that was last updated 4 months ago makes you look unprofessional and the blog starts having a negative effect on your brand rather than a positive one.
The best way to ensure your blog stays fresh and up to date is to make someone in your business the blog editor and part of their day to day job. If the blog is something to be done in a spare minute, it never will. Who admits to having a spare minute at work?
The MOST important channel?
That last point ties in with a general misconception that a blog does not have to be treated in the same way as other marketing channels, and can be managed on an ad-hoc basis or as an afterthought.
Your blog is your voice, which makes it quite possible THE most important marketing channel you have. It needs to be treated as such.
The best business blogs have an editorial plan, take the time to write quality content and have multiple people writing for them sharing their different skill sets and opinions. Some even have full time members of staff just working on the blog.
Content is king!
It may seem so blindingly obvious as to wonder why I am bringing it up, but your choice of content is king. The reason I am bringing it up however, is that so many business blogs think publishing the occasional press release or staff announcement will cut it.
Put yourself in a reader’s shoes, why would they want to read that? What they want is content that helps them or makes them smile, and it doesn’t matter what your business does, there is always something to say.
Your blog also has to be “on brand”, and by this I mean it can’t be written in a style that jars against what your business stands for. If you are fun and quirky, so should your blog be as well.
If your brand is B2B and dealing with multi-million pound deals, don’t write an article about the “top 5 ways XYZ sucks”. That’s an extreme example but I think you get my drift.
A blog will convert in to sales
You can still use your blog to sell your good or services (in fact you should), but rather than a cold hard description of a product, talk about how it helped one of your customers and how readers can apply that themselves. This makes it an interesting and useful read, and they also read how great you are! Conversion Rate Experts have a great example of this here http://www.conversion-rate-experts.com/daflores-case-study/
Don’t be afraid to stop
Even after all that, if you try out using a blog and you find it is too much for you to manage on a weekly basis, don’t be afraid to remove it from your website. It is better to do that than to leave a waste ground of out of date blog posts people will associate with your business.
Businesses doing it well
Here are some great business blogs to draw inspiration from…
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